We're constantly surfing the web for cool stories Minnesota sports fans will find interesting and nine times out of ten we have a hard time finding any optimism for the 2017 Minnesota Twins.
It's like the entire universe thinks the Twins, fresh off that ugly 103-loss summer of 2016, will lose 90+ games again this season.
But not the people over at Sports On Earth. These guys partner with Major League Baseball and they're picking the Twins to finish 81-81, good for second place in the American League Central.
The Twins have some serious breakout potential. I think this is the year all the young players take the step forward we were waiting for them to take last year. Byron Buxton hasn't shown much consistency, but he also seems to do something on the field once every game that takes your breath away. There's all sorts of power here, from Miguel Sano to Max Kepler to Brian Dozier to even Byungho Park, who many projections systems are still high on. And don't sleep on that Jason Castro signing: He not only gives Minnesota some pop from the catching position, he also has elite framing skills, of utmost importance with a staff like the Twins have.
Sports On Earth is fully aware that Minnesota's pitching staff doesn't look much different from last year, but they expect improvement because of better defense and maturation from younger guys like Jose Berrios.
The projection actually falls in line with the PECOTA projections from Baseball Prospectus, which is a fancy algorithm used to predict win totals and what not. It has the Twins at 80 wins, enough to finish ahead of Detroit, Kansas City and Chicago.
Here's how other media outlets are predicting the Twins.